Its ostensible purpose: Is it possible?
Is it possible that the mess in Fort Lee really was some sort of bungled traffic study?
After scanning the new cache of documents released yesterday, we can’t exactly say. Before we offer our reasons for saying that, we’ll offer an overview:
We liberals are inclined to want to believe the worst about a pol like Christie. All over the globe, we humans have always been so inclined.
That said, our public discourse has been a viper’s nest of bungled and misleading narratives for the past many years. Examples:
In 1999 and 2000, a steady stream of bungled scripts about Candidate Gore sent George W. Bush to the White House.
In 2012, a bungled script about Susan Rice was repeated ad infinitum. How much confidence do you have in the journalists who accepted and ran with that blatantly bungled script?
We have very little.
In the current case, New Jersey Democrats shaped the narrative right from the week in September when this mess occurred. At that time, the Wall Street Journal reported what it called “rumors”—rumors that the closing of the traffic lanes was political retribution against Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor.
At that point, whoever was bruiting those “rumors” wasn’t willing to bruit them on the record. But those rumors created the basic narrative which persists today.
That narrative may turn out to be right, although many people have noted the surface absurdities of this story line. Indeed, our press corps’ prevailing narratives routinely turn out to be wrong.
Last night, we were struck by something Rachel Maddow omitted from her report about the new cache of documents; that led us to an interesting passage in the Washington Post. From there, we went to some of the new cache of documents—the ones which weren’t selectively released by New Jersey Dems.
The fact which didn’t bark: Last night, at the start of her show, Maddow presented an overview of the new cache of documents.
Her account was highly interpretive and highly novelized; her journalistic detachment level was extremely low.
In the passage excepted below, Maddow is telling the story in a way we liberals may be inclined to like. That said, we were struck by the highlighted fact—and by others which didn’t bark:
MADDOW (1/10/14): Today, with release of more than 2,000 pages of documents, which the legislature obtained under subpoena in their investigation of the bridge shutdown, today we learned quite a bit more. After that mid-August instruction from Governor Christie’s office that it was time to cook up something terrible for Fort Lee in the form of traffic problems, we now know that, within the Port Authority, the traffic engineers were asked to provide a few different scenarios for how exactly to do that for Fort Lee. Under what appears to be a guise of a traffic study, the chief traffic engineer proposed three different scenarios for messing with the access lanes on to the George Washington Bridge, three scenarios in essentially descending order of hellishness.That account is far more novelized than journalistic. In the midst of all those accusations, we were struck by the highlighted passage:
The proposed plan from the engineer that would have the worst impact on Fort Lee would be a plan that would merge all of Fort Lee’s access to the bridge down to two lanes. Not good enough, apparently, because the next day, the engineers come back to the issue. Look. Look at this e- mail. The next day.
Here, Mr. Wildstein, as requested attached is the modification to the plans from yesterday. As you can see, our plans for unleashing hell on Fort Lee are now significantly more draconian. Per your request, we have made additional modifications to our menu of options. Now, as you will see, we have come up with a one-lane option as well.
Instead of the worst case for Fort Lee being merging all of its lanes down to two lanes, quote, "one additional scenario would be a merge down to one lane." Yes. Twice as bad. Down to one lane. Does that seem better?
Really? Within the Port Authority, the traffic engineers were asked to come up with a few scenarios “under the guise of a traffic study?”
Presumably, those traffic engineers are not a partisan group. Presumably, they were given some rationale for what they’d been asked to devise.
What were they told they were trying to do? Maddow skipped this obvious question as she told her novelized tale.
That highlighted point seemed interesting. This wasn’t a case of a couple of hacks showing up with traffic cones and closing two lanes of traffic. Whatever happened here, it ran through a set of traffic engineers, a presumably non-partisan group.
What were they told they were trying to do? Very deep in the long, highly novelized news report found in this morning’s Washington Post, the highlighted explanation appears:
RUCKER AND BLAKE (1/11/14): Orange cones were set out before the sun rose blocking two of the bridge’s three local access lanes and forcing commuters to merge into one painfully slow toll lane. There was nowhere special for “EZ-Pass” drivers; everyone waited to pay the $13 toll in the “CASH” lane.In paragraph 29 of a highly novelized report, Rucker and Blake explain the “ostensible” purpose of the alleged traffic study. “Ostensibly, the purpose was to determine whether closing two of the three Fort Lee local toll lanes might help alleviate traffic entering the bridge from the main lanes, including Interstate 95.”
Two separate queues stretched down Fort Lee’s narrow streets for a half-mile until noon each day. At 10 a.m., an estimated 550 vehicles were lined up in Fort Lee awaiting access to the bridge, according to the Port Authority’s traffic study. Over a four-hour period, a total of 2,800 hours were lost to traffic delay, the study said.
Ostensibly, the purpose was to determine whether closing two of the three Fort Lee local toll lanes might help alleviate traffic entering the bridge from the main lanes, including Interstate 95. Early e-mails suggested blocking only one lane as a test, but, at Wildstein’s prompting, the closure was expanded to two lanes.
Was this an actual attempt at a real traffic study? Could there have been a legitimate purpose behind this bungled action?
We don’t know how to answer that. In the absence of clairvoyance, let’s explain what that highlighted passage means:
North toward home—driving up I-95: Interstate 95 runs north and south through the major cities of the eastern seaboard. Heading northbound through New Jersey and toward New York City, I-95 takes you over the GW Bridge, then heads on toward Providence and Boston.
Here’s what happens as you approach the bridge from the south at a busy time:
You crawl along in traffic for miles, cursing your fate and wondering if you’ll ever get to the bridge. When you finally see the bridge, you also see those now-famous access lanes from Fort Lee.
Ten million cars from those access lanes crawl in front of you into the flow, slowing your approach from the south. Having cursed your overall fate for miles, you now start cursing those drivers.
For the northbound driver, this is a maddening arrangement, which doesn’t mean it isn’t fair or that it doesn’t make overall sense. Ostensibly, though, an ostensible purpose for the alleged traffic study appears in the new cache of documents:
How much would northbound flow be improved on I-95 if the Fort Lee access lanes were reduced? To appearances, that was the ostensible question animating the request to those traffic engineers.
It wouldn’t be a crazy question to ask, which doesn’t mean it was asked in good faith. Could it have been asked in good faith? Presumably, yes, although we don’t know if it was.
Wildstein at the site: At any rate, the intrepid David Wildstein was live and direct on the scene on Monday, September 9, emailing and/or texting reports about traffic flow.
On Sunday, September 8, he had emailed Robert Durando, a Port Authority official, saying this:
“Will be at bridge early Monday am to view new lane test.”
“So will I,” Durando replied, offering a set of notes about various preparations which were in place.
On Monday morning, the vigil began. At 8:43 AM on Tuesday, Wildstein was sending this message:
“So I-95 traffic broke about 5 minutes ago, about 45 minutes earlier than usual, because there are 2 additional lanes to handle morning rush.”
Someone responds, “This is good, no?” Instant reply: “Very good.”
Presumably, that means that the northbound traffic jam ended 45 minutes early on I-95, due to the reduced interference from cars cutting in from Fort Lee. Absent the chaos in Fort Lee itself, this presumably would have been a desirable outcome.
Other emails to Bridget Kelly seem to suggest that people may have been monitoring traffic flow at different locations.
Is it possible that this bungled effort was actually undertaken in good faith? Everything’s possible! That said, we don’t know if it was done in good faith. It may not have been.
We do know this: Careful people will be suspicious of overwrought, novelized “news reports” of the type Maddow presented last night. Ditto for the heavily novelized news report in today’s Washington Post.
Is such reporting done in good faith? That’s a good question too!
At any rate, our discourse has been awash in such narratives over the past twenty years. They have often turned out to be wrong.
The basic framework for this novel came from New Jersey Democrats. Newsflash: However crazy Christie may be, New Jersey Democrats can be strongly partisan too.
Looking through the new cache of documents, we see little evidence that this bungled closing of lanes was aimed at Mayor Sokolich, or at anyone else, although Wildstein doesn’t seem to care for Sokolich much.
That doesn’t mean this bungled mess was undertaken in good faith. But careful people will be slow to buy such novelized narratives, even when they favor one’s own partisan leanings and interests.
Read and watch Maddow’s report from last night. In our view, you’ll be looking at terrible journalism. Careful people should be wary of those who “report” important topics in such post-journalistic ways.
Final note—from the start, this narrative was fueled by New Jersey Dems. Once a narrative like this gains traction within our “press corps,” it is very hard to reverse, whether it’s right or wrong.
Memorization is the greatest skill of our modern-day “press corps.” Once they’ve memorized a tale, they’re very slow to change it.
Careful people—dare we say honest people?—will be slow to accept the work of this deeply flawed band.
How will this whole matter turn out? We’ll be eager to see what emerges. Quite often, the truth never does.
Postscript—a note to the fiery, the eager, the partisan: Did we say this “study” was done in good faith?
Actually, no—we did not.
We don’t know if it was done in good faith. At this point, we don’t think that question has been answered.
Coming: Christie regains his high school chum. Also, Maddow’s new ballyhooed theory
"Is it possible that this bungled effort was actually undertaken in good faith? Everything’s possible! That said, we don’t know if it was done in good faith. It may not have been."ReplyDelete
This is a fucking joke, right?
Wildstein has already taken the 5th.
Wildstein taking the 5th is your idea of conclusive evidence? No wonder FOX and MSNBC are so comfortable shoveling what they do.Delete
3:09, how about the fact Christie himself said it was a political vendetta? Should we ignore that too?Delete
There is no "conclusive evidence" at this point. The main reason being that CC and his merry band of henchmen have not been shall we say "forthcoming" up to this point. And they've been bobbing and weaving and stalling up to this point hoping to get their man in NJ AG and speaker. Unfortunately the roof caved in a little too soon. But don't worry, there are powerful forces highly motivated to get to the bottom of this no matter how long it takes.Delete
Just curious, have you picked a story yet? "Traffic study gone awry?" You going with that? Just for the record.
By "forthcoming," you mean they haven't confessed to your preferred story line?Delete
No, wise guy. I don't have a preferred story line. I just want to know what happened, as do a lot of other people. I guess I'm just a little bit more curious than the Governor. "I was working the cones" haw hawDelete
And it might have been a little quicker and easier if subpoenas hadn't been necessary. But you knew what I meant, right. You just want to be a smartass.
On California freeways we have metered access on the on-ramps during high traffic times (rush hours). They limit the flow of new cars onto the freeway so that the main body of traffic doesn't come to a stop as new cars enter. I remember the old days before this was implemented and you spent a long time sitting at a near stop. It is better now. There are still slowdowns at the points where major freeways come together. The rationale for this kind of study makes sense, regardless of the purpose for this particular study. When metering is put in place, those trying to enter the freeway do have to sit and wait for their turn, often a long time. Residents find alternate routes and figure out where the best place is to try to get on the freeway.ReplyDelete
Wildstein has taken the 5th because people are talking about criminal prosecution and civil suits. Anyone's lawyer would tell them not to say anything under those circumstances. Taking the 5th doesn't mean you are guilty of wrongdoing. It means anything you say is going to be used against you by others, so it is best to say nothing.
So you think it's possible that this was just a true "traffic study?'.Delete
And decided not to tell anybody because?
Usually you don't tell someone because they will object or make a fuss. Clearly many people knew about this because it appears to have been coordinated, with observers at various sites. It also involved two authorities. Mainly Fort Lee wasn't told. If you were mayor of a city and someone proposed shutting off the onramps like that, wouldn't you object?Delete
Well, let me explain something to you. They were obligated to provide ample warning to the public and the town impacted. And to law enforcement and emergency response. That didn't have the fucking right to do this without following established procedures just cause they were afraid the mayor would object.Delete
That is a different kind of screw-up than revenge closures. I don't think anyone is arguing that this didn't mess up traffic in Ft. Lee and cause a lot of problems. They are arguing about whether it was politically motivated or just a big mistake. Someone asked why you wouldn't tell people about something -- it is often because you don't want to deal with the consequences of them knowing. I didn't argue it was right. On the other hand, sometimes people don't communicate well because everyone is assuming people were told by someone else -- diffusion of responsibility. Things can fall through the cracks unintentionally.Delete
You want to assume that malfeasance is the only explanation. I can think of others. In that case, we really should be waiting to find out what the real explanation is, rather than assuming our preferred one is true.
" In that case, we really should be waiting to find out what the real explanation is, rather than assuming our preferred one is true."Delete
Hey jackass, that's what they've been trying to do for the last 4 months.
Not Maddow and not a bunch of folks here who have assumed the worst from day 1.Delete
Yeah, let's attack Maddow now for reporting the story.Delete
"Assumed the worst from day 1"?!
First of all, "day 1" isn't the first day Maddow reported this story. Day 1 happened the day after they pulled this stunt and put the Fort Lee officials on "radio silence"
Second, it can't get much more worse than it already is. Are you kidding?
Yes, let's attack Maddow now. She's the real villain here. Never mind that all the investigation up to now was by local newspapers and the WSJ and the NYTimes. Never mind that no one has ever shown her reporting to be wrong in any way. You just don't like that she seems to be enjoying this a bit too much.Delete
She is still not behaving like a journalist but rather behaving like a partisan and propagandist. She is not simply reporting the facts, she is slanting them. So, yes, she is being a bad journalist. That doesn't make her an axe murderer, but it is wrong of her and we should be expecting more from our liberal pundits. Being liberal doesn't mean you have to become unreliable and biased.Delete
Somerby has several times shown her reporting to be wrong. Go back and read this blog. You don't want to accept his criticisms -- that doesn't change the fact that she has made some mistakes. The one about whether Christie and Wildstein are childhood friends is the latest example.
Nothing Maddow has reported has been unreliable or biased. She didn't report that they were childhood friends, she reported that they went to high school together. All in all a very insignificant nit to pick.Delete
Go back and read Somerby's analysis of what she said, compared to the facts as stated by Christie.Delete
The story about punishing the mayor of Ft. Lee didn't make much sense but she pushed it enthusiastically. Now, in the light of various challenges, she is pushing the story about revenge against a state legislator who didn't approve Christie's court appointee. That doesn't make any more sense than the mayor story. In both cases she is following the talking points of New Jersey Democrats, as are all of the others at MSNBC and elsewhere, including Hayes & Kornacki and Debbie Wasserman-Schmidt. There is a chorus repeating the same script. It is most clear if you watch this in real time. It is very much like the experience of watching Fox after they get their teeth into some pseudo-scandal about some liberal figure. Tag-teaming but all on the same page. That is both unreliable and biased.
Maddow could be better. Maybe she was in the past, on radio. I'm not sure because I stopped listening to her when Air America declared itself for Obama and Randi Rhodes went off the deep end. She isn't living up to her credentials. She is another noise-maker on a station that is trying to win viewers by appealing to their lowest instincts. It isn't journalism, it isn't even politics. It is a major waste of time and talent (giving her the benefit of the doubt). If you value truth and clear thinking, her show is largely unwatchable.
"The story about punishing the mayor of Ft. Lee didn't make much sense but she pushed it enthusiastically."Delete
This is just horseshit, ok?
She didn't even begin reporting on this because she thought it didn't make sense. Until the story kept growing through the efforts of reporters on the scene. If you're going to report the story it only makes sense that you report what the people involved were saying and thinking about the motive. She never vouched for the truth of that speculation and she was scrupulous about saying how much was still unknown.
" . . . the facts as stated by Christie."Delete
Oh, we are definitely not in Kansas any more, Toto. We have now entered Bizzaro World.
Almost comedic to watch the rubes swallow Maddow's crackpot bait.Delete
2:26, everything Christie states is assumed to be a fact. Except when he said the lane closures where a vendetta.Delete
Got it? ok.
"Losers, guess what? The volume of traffic on the bridge has nothing to do with this story. Traffic across the bridge was not affected, only access to the bridge from the town of Fort Lee."
And then wrote today
"Presumably, that means that the northbound traffic jam ended 45 minutes early on I-95, due to the reduced interference from cars cutting in from Fort Lee."
Blogger is going to go down the hard way on this one (anyone notice the weasel word above) - he seems to have realized that his entire pundit-career on the line here.
Idiot -- the volume across the bridge is unaffected when there is an absence of new cars coming onto it. The absence of something cannot have an impact on current circumstances. The flow of traffic compared to another day when additional cars are present would clearly be affected because there is the presence of those additional cars on one day but not on the other. This is a matter of clear wording. You cannot have an increase or a decrease in traffic by changing nothing about the number of cars entering the bridge.Delete
Good point - his career of free blogging is clearly on the line here for that obvious transgression.Delete
stop exhibiting your cluelessness this way.
If you think that "traffic across the bridge was unaffected" means the same number of cars got through - thats a silly reading. That would be true during the busy hour or at 2 a.m. - the real issue is how long the average car had to wait to get through.
The blogger's idiotic first statement must have fed your natural idiocy - the second statement is more precise, referring to the duration of the busy period.
That isn't what I said at all.Delete
Restate your gibberish in English, if you'd be so kind.
Image water flowing from a hose. If you turn the spigot up, more water comes out, if you close the spigot less water comes out. If you do nothing to it, there is no change in the flow of water. Now imagine traffic going across a bridge. If you let no one join that traffic from a particular on-ramp, the traffic doesn't increase (because no one is coming on). It doesn't decrease either. It stays the same because nothing has happened to change it. That was the semantic issue being debated back then.Delete
Now, imagine you are comparing a big hose with a small hose. Does more water come out of the big hose? Yes, compared to the small one. However, if you don't turn the big hose on or off, the amount of water coming out of it stays the same, compared to itself. Get the point now?
It matters how you describe this because in one case you are making a comparison but in the other you are not. Somerby criticized the wording involved and said it wasn't clear. That is the kind of thing he talks about in this blog. He also said that issue over wording wasn't relevant to whether Christie was involved in this scandal or not -- it isn't.
"Now, imagine you are comparing a big hose with a small hose. Does more water come out of the big hose? Yes, compared to the small one."Delete
Actually, you can't answer that one until you know what the water pressure is in both hoses.
1:26 you must be the blogger himself.Delete
Why are you ignoring the actual observation that rush hour finished sooner with the closure?
I think there are 4 toll-booths that Ft Lee entrants can use - that have 4 access lanes that main I-95 traffic does not compete with. BUT I-95 traffic can use at least two of these booths by jockeying across lanes once they have come abreast with the Ft Lee entrants. So if two of the Ft Lee access lanes are shut, the main traffic is helped.
What is rocket science about this?
1:45 your whole comment makes sense. Especially the first line.Delete
Bob read this - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/10/chris-christies-traffic-study-excuse-didnt-even-make-sense/ReplyDelete
No interest from Bob or the regular commenters here...Delete
The reason the "study" was bungled was because the person who ordered it beconducted was a blogger.Delete
And this gemReplyDelete
"In the current case, New Jersey Democrats shaped the narrative right from the week in September when this mess occurred. At that time, the Wall Street Journal reported what it called “rumors”—rumors that the closing of the traffic lanes was political retribution against Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor."
Right - Rupert Murdoch's WSJ carrying water for Democrats.
Several people have pointed out that Christie isn't well liked by some conservatives.Delete
Um, Christie is a Murdoch favorite.Delete
Murdoch writes every word in the WSJ?Delete
For years, according to Somerby, every word that leapt from the mouth of Tim Russert and Chris Matthews was shaped by their efforts to build a big house near the chairman of GE.
Either you are full of bull roar's exhaust now, or Bob was full of it then.
Blogger has really done it this time. He has gone beyond the pale. He should be ashamed of himself. The facts have been established and all he is left with is his failures and lies. And his 12 readers all of whom are unsuccessful and unhappy Dem haters.ReplyDelete
What about the facts in the new emails he is describing?Delete
Don't try to reason with 12:36. He's upset that Blogger insists on undermining his tribal stupidity.Delete
The fact is is that this was a political vendetta. Whether it grew out of a study, or vice versa matters about as much as whether Wildstein and Christie played strat-o-matic baseball together as teenagers.Delete
"Is it possible that this bungled effort was actually undertaken in good faith? Everything’s possible!"ReplyDelete
No, not in this world. Go talk to professional traffic engineers and ask them if this is how one would go about studying the impact of closing access lanes. Harvard isn't what it used to be I guess.
The Harvard of Bob's era isn't what it is now? Is that what you meant? We don't know. Everything's possible.Delete
If that is what you meant, the harvard of Bob's era produced the guys who led JFK and LBJ into Vietnam. Where Gore served. And Bob didn't.
OK, I guess Harvard never was what it used to be.Delete
Pete Seeger also went to Harvard.Delete
The facts are clear. A vendetta was issued, a woman died waiting for an ambulance that never came as the fat cat Christie shared hot ham and cheese sandwiches with his best friend from childhood. Meanwhile blogger and his minions try to twist the narrative away from what is clear to all.ReplyDelete
Nobody died waiting for an ambulance that never came.
Who told you that? Some high school buddy you ran into 23 years later.
woman died waitingDelete
And a teenager died was the only fact that mattered in another recent controversy, right?
Did you not read the post above? It says that, based on the newest set of documents and emails, there were actual professional traffic engineers involved in planning the lane closures.ReplyDelete
Anonymous, I suggest you consult other sources that Bob Somerby for information on this story. What the documents show is a lame, last-minute attempt, part of a cover-up, to make it look like there was some sort of traffic study. There are protocols for traffic studies in the PA, none of which was followed, according to the evidence produced before the NJ legislative committee that has been holding hearings or by the documents released over the last few days.Just ask Foye, who was apoplectic.Delete
This really is laughable. I go back to my theory that Bob is engaged in some sort of demented performance art.
3 women lay dead in Ft Lee. And you want to sit here and nitpick. You should be ashamed of yourself.Delete
Are you saying that the traffic engineers were consulted after the lanes were closed?Delete
Now one woman whose death was not likely caused by delay has expanded to three women lying dead. What about those poor children on the buses? Shouldn't Christie be blamed for them too?
Christie took responsibility for the people whose EMS service and school buses were delayed. After the e-mails
made it impossible for him to make cone-mover jokes any longer.
"There are protocols for traffic studies in the PA, none of which was followed, "Delete
That's astounding, given how uncommon it is for government functionaries to fail to perform excellently.
"Christie took responsibility for the people whose EMS service and school buses were delayed."Delete
Didn't Richard Nixon once say he took the responsibility, but not the blame?
"Ostensibly, the purpose was to determine whether closing two of the three Fort Lee local toll lanes might help alleviate traffic entering the bridge from the main lanes, including Interstate 95."ReplyDelete
They should have asked my 4th grade daughter to answer that "question". Would have saved a lot of time and trouble.
And just in case no one's 4th grade daughter could answer, you could have done it by computer simulation.Delete
Those things are quite sophisticated these days.
Since 1995 the US Census Bureau has been conducting
the American Community Survey. One whole series of questions in that survey is designed to develop data for use in such simulations by state and local traffic engineers. The questions specifically gather information to measure morning traffic origination and destinations.
Yeah, right. Two PA officials resigned, Christie fired a deputy chief of staff and abjectly apologized for over an hour and a half over a legit traffic study? Maybe you should douse your head in cold water - you're overheated.ReplyDelete
If it was so legit, why did the PA Executive Director order the reopening of the lanes, calling it a “hasty and ill-advised decision”?
Also, the mayor of Fort Lee complained that the PA police officers were telling commuters the closing so were his idea.
The study, if legitimate, was clearly done improperly. Wouldn't that warrant firing and apologies too?Delete
"If legitimate" this study would have been done properly, instead of violating every policy and principle of the Port Authority and most likely federal and state law as well.Delete
And in case you think I make that up, those are the words of Patrick Foye.
1:08, you know i heard Christie say the closure was a political vendetta, and he fired his staff for lying about it. I missed the part about him firing his staff for incompetently running a study.Delete
But yeah, let's just make crap up. Maybe there were space aliens threatening Ft Lee, and the NSA picked up transmissions that the aliens were afraid of traffic, the Gov's staff had to make a traffic jam or it would have been the end of that fine community
It is interesting how overheated this discussion has become and how many new incriminating, entirely unsourced details are being added now to support the idea that this can only be what Maddow said it was, politically motivated revenge. We are truly just like the conservative echo chamber now. I am ashamed that anyone purportedly liberal reasons this way, cannot exercise basic open-mindedness and fairness (until the situation is clarified) and froths at the mouth in their desire to "get" Christie. This whole discussion is pretty ugly. On the other hand, it isn't about race -- that's an improvement I suppose.ReplyDelete
Even Christie called it a "political vendetta."Delete
We have now reached the point where Chris Christie speaks more truth than Somerby and his Merry Tribe!
Many of the dozen devotees of Somerby are now beginning to suspect some of the names redacted in the e-mails were probably members of the troll conspiracy that was hatched about the same time as the infamous words "Time for traffic problems in Ft. Lee."
"It is interesting how overheated this discussion has become and how many new incriminating, entirely unsourced details are being added now to support the idea that this can only be what Maddow said it was, politically motivated revenge."Delete
Sure, there's also the slight chance that maybe we think it was a political vendetta because even Christie himself has said that's what it was.
Can you provide a quote for Christie saying it was a vendetta, please? Sokolich said it, but he is mayor of Ft. Lee. Where did Christie say it and in what context?Delete
4:29. Sure. Here's the quote:Delete
"I don't know whether this was a traffic study that morphed into a political vendetta or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study..."
Here's a link. http://www.krdo.com/news/URGENT-Christie-Bridge-Vendetta/-/417220/23848456/-/bd45xf/-/index.html
Shorter 4:29 retort (and unlike the blogger):Delete
See below. He is not admitting that this was a political vendetta. He is saying he doesn't know whether a vendetta was involved. He is repeating the word political vendetta because that is what he was being accused of -- it is the phrase that came from the press. He is not admitting that he or his staff conducted any kind of vendetta. He is confessing to ignorance. That WAS the gist of his press statement.Delete
He said he didn't know what his staff was up to.Delete
He said he wasn't sure if this was a study turned to a vendetta or a vendetta turned to a study.
He said it all made no sense because he didn't even have a beef with the mayor, or asked for his support.
He did not say he didn't know whether this was a vendetta or not.
Correction: "He did not say he didn't know whether this was a vendetta or not."Delete
should be, he did not say that this wasn't a vendetta (much the opposite).
Most of these links don't have any kind of pay wall, as far as I can tell, and even the NYT's only kicks in after a while, so you can follow the internal links at each site to learn something about this whole story. If you don't feel you can rely on MSNBC (which, in my humble opinion, has been doing a good job, despite Bob's nitpicking -- Steve Kornacki has some especially valuable sources and insights into NJ political culture), please, for the love of god, do not rely on Bob Somerby for information about this whole story. (His performance piece should be entitled, "B+ Sophomore philosophy student critiques political journalism.")
Except Kornacki has his own axe to grind in NJ politics. Not exactly an independent, unbiased source.Delete
This may be news to you, but there is no such thing as an independent, unbiased source. Any reporter who gets deeply involved in a political culture (and thereby be able to report on it intelligently and helpfully) will develop his or her own perspectives and opinions. Professional journalism is about discipline and fairness, among other things, which can be exercised despite the limitations of one's own perspectives and bias. Awareness of one's limitations is important here. Kornacki was very upfront about how he got his real professional start thanks to Weinstein, and he has had nice things to say about Weinstein. But that has not stopped him from reporting honestly about Weinstein's role in this story. Same goes for Kelley, and not just with Kornacki. Other reporters have expressed surprise at her role because, well, they'd always thought pretty highly of her. Surprised or not, they have been reporting what she emailed.Delete
Being as independent and unbiasesd as possible is the journalistic ideal and standard toward which journalists work, if they are good at their job. Kornacki is only believable to the extent that this is true about him. Similarly, Maddow is only believable to the extent that this is true about her. When they engage in obviously biased behavior, they undermine their credibility as journalists. When there is a clear-cut desire to get Christie, a script being put forth by NJ Democrats on this issue, and clear evidence of bias on the part of Maddow and others reporting this issue, I see no reason to believe Kornacki is unbiased either.Delete
This surprise about Kelly's role should be taken more seriously. She isn't a long-time crony of Christie. There is no explanation for why she would have been part of the revenge fantasy attributed here. It makes a lot more sense that she was helping to execute an incompetent but genuine study, especially given that her job was as intergovernmental liaison. People keep referring to her as a Christie staff member and chief of staff. That wasn't her job title, but it furthers to script. Her job was to coordinate between different governmental entities. She dropped the b all with Ft. Lee, but that doesn't make her a revenge-seeker at Christie's behest.
As I pointed out a long time ago here, her email about "Time to Stop Traffic in Ft. Lee" literally can mean just that -- time to close the lanes in a traffic study. I said that the same email could have been sent about the traffic stoppages in California when CalTrans repaired the 405 Freeway here. It is ambiguous. It takes more contortions to make her participation fit Maddow's script than it takes to take it at face value as meaning what it said.
Common sense seems to have been abandoned in the rush to torpedo Christie. I can understand that Democrats are worried about the many Democrats who have been contributing to his campaign funds. That is no excuse for abandoning journalistic standards in order to try to drive him out of the race. That's unethical and I am ashamed that other Democrats would be so supportive of that kind of tactic, much less participate in it. That WILL affect my own voting in 2016 and I will remember this.
"As I pointed out a long time ago here, her email about "Time to Stop Traffic in Ft. Lee" literally can mean just that -- time to close the lanes in a traffic study."Delete
That's not how traffic studies are conducted. And why would she conceal it from her boss, the Governor?
And get the quote right,
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,”
"Except Kornacki has his own axe to grind in NJ politics. Not exactly an independent, unbiased source."Delete
Right. Can't attack the message, so attack the messenger.
How Bob of you!
Let me phrase it this way. Being unbiased is an achieved practice, not a prior state. You've produced no evidence that any bias Kornacki may hold has led him to report unfairly or partially on this story. Mere assertions of axes to grind mean nothing, especially to my ears, since I heard Kornakci talk about how he owed his career to Wildstein and had only positive experiences with him when he worked at his blog.Delete
And no, that's not how traffic studies are conducted, in NJ, NY, or anywhere. Christie knew better than to try to defend Kelley on those grounds. Talk about bias: no matter what the documents say, no matter what people said in testimony before the NJ legislative committee, no matter what Christie himself says, some people here try to defend Christie on grounds that require an ignorance that by this time must be willful.
And for the record, I haven't been worried about Christie's fundraising prowess among fat cats who often contribute to dems. I am worried that this man might become president of the United States, not because he's a Republican per se (there are a few who do not terrify me), but because of his character as revealed in this story (and many past stories, if you have been paying attention -- which, as a native of NJ, I have been for more than four years now).
"...I haven't been too worried about Christie's fundraising prowess among fat cats...."Delete
Wonder how much Apache Mills ponied up for Christie et al, especially during all those years that Christie and Wildstein were merely two ships passing in the night?
"demented performance art" is right.
What seems to have happened is here:
"Basically, there was a study already scheduled, called the 'Center & Lemoine Traffic Data'. A consultant (Hardesty & Hannover) had been hired to install traffic cameras to study the NORMAL traffic flow in order to plan traffic diversion for a future project called 'Center & Lemoine Avenue Bridge Deck Replacement'. Here is one of the e-mails in the data dump:"
'In the last e-mail, the engineer complains that, because of Wildstein's 'TL24 test', '... we are getting skewed traffic data in this area.'
It's pretty obvious that Wildstein's 'TL24 test' was not authorized or planned through normal channels - certainly none of the real traffic study people knew anything about it beforehand.
In other documents, it is clear that the first clue that bridge operations people knew about Wildstein's 'TL24 test' was on the afternoon of Friday 9/6/13, conveniently leaving nobody any time to deal with it before Monday morning.
As for the incomplete PDF that purports to show some sort of results - perhaps from the 'TL24 test' - I'm still looking at that. It's difficult to figure it has any meaning, other than someone hurriedly, and after-the-fact, trying to cobble together enough garbage to fool people that it was the results of a real traffic study."
Thanks for that link. When I read the raw documents, I couldn't figure what the hell they were talking about with the "video cameras." I felt like a guy from Kansas dropping into the middle of a conversation conducted in Chinese. In other words, a rank amateur. I thought it was all one study.Delete
I think Somerby did the same thing. He saw all these documents, all these engineers involved, and rushed to publish that it was "possible" the whole thing was legit.
The guy at KOS apparently has some expertise that both Somerby and I lack and explained it well.
There was a legit video camera study of traffic volume and flow involving the real engineers about to take place, but Wildstein's "hasty and ill-advised" (Foye) and unauthorized "TL24" test screwed it up.
And Foye's memo certainly blows any "possibility" out of the water that this was "legitmate" and "done in good faith."
"I think Somerby did the same thing. He saw all these documents, all these engineers involved, and rushed to publish that it was "possible" the whole thing was legit."Delete
Yep, he had a script and followed it. Exactly what he accuses everyone else of doing.
An interpretation of an event based on evidence (documents, engineers) is not a script because a script is enacted from a preconceived idea of what happened, not from the actual details that event. In other words, Somerby is drawing a conclusion from facts. That is the OPPOSITE of following a script.Delete
5:55, that's exactly what Bob is doing. He is certain Maddow was wrong, now that it looks like she wasn't, he's twisting himself in knots trying to prove it could have been a study after all - even rushing to publish information he didn't digest, while ignoring facts such as that even Christie is no longer pretending this was simply a study gone awry.Delete
He is doing exactly what he accuses others of doing, following a script int his case "Maddow was wrong."
And Bob and his followers are reduced to taking a sentence written in clear, plain English and pretending it could mean something entirely different by saying, "Ah yes, but it is possible that he could have meant . . ."Delete
It is a cheap trick that a high school debate coach wouldn't let a freshman get away with.
Here's what bothered me. I watched Chris Hayes talk about Christie's apology press conference. The whole time he referred to it as a "performance." That language implies that it was acting, made up, false, like a stage performance or a show. He could have referred to it as his statement, apology, press conference, response to allegations, any number of other terms. He consistently referred to it as a "performance," no other term.ReplyDelete
That strikes me as a motivated attempt to steer public opinion about Christie's remarks. I don't like Christie and I am not a Republican, but I do want to make up my own mind about these events, without being driven to a desired conclusion by people like Hayes. How can anyone trust anything they say, when they feel they must use tactics like this to steer people toward their own point of view, instead of making a direct appeal via facts and arguments?
Or . . . he could have said it was acting, made up, false. Then you wouldn't have to strain so hard to put those words in his mouth.Delete
What does "performance" mean to you?Delete
Can't think of a more appropriate term when a politician (or really anyone for that matter) is addressing the press and following pre-prepared talking points and/or is not "off the cuff. "Delete
So, when all those people were mocking Obama for reading off his teleprompters that was OK because he was clearly engaging in a performance, not giving a public address?Delete
To my list of links above, I add this, a video of the director of the GWB (within the PA) testifying about the "traffic study." It's painful to watch him struggle to avoid perjury while also trying to keep his job -- even at this late date, he's terrified of the retribution Weinstein (or others in Christie's world) might bring on him. Yes, the PA has long been a political rats' nest, and NJ politics (perhaps more than in most states -- I don't know) always involves retributive moves. But even by NJ standards, this whole episode has brought to larger public attention what has long been known by politicos in NJ (Republicans as well as Democrats), that Christie sets a new standard. Just watch:ReplyDelete
I'm not sure what this proves? I watched it. He doesn't want to say he would have been fired for disobeying his bosses instructions, but he does say he was concerned about Wildstein's reaction if he didn't carry out his orders. How is that different than any employee-supervisor relationship? If I deliberately disobeyed something my boss told me to do, I would have worried about his reaction and been concerned about my continued employment too. Do you imagine that employees anywhere have the right to pick and choose which of the things their bosses tell them to do they will actually carry out? This questioner also seems to think he should have gone over Wildstein's head to question his directives. That doesn't happen in real life either, in any context. Failure to communicate within the chain of command will get you fired, quickly, because it pisses off your boss. That's true anywhere, not just in New Jersey or under Christie. So, what exactly do you think this testimony means?Delete
"This questioner also seems to think he should have gone over Wildstein's head to question his directives. That doesn't happen in real life either, in any context. Failure to communicate within the chain of command will get you fired, quickly, because it pisses off your boss."Delete
He was "just following orders". Got it!
He was visibly unwilling to testify in a way that would get him fired. What does that signify? You expect moral courage over some lane closures?Delete
Anonymous, you are responding as if only to a transcript. In the video, the man's difficulty in responding, his long silences, his careful choice of words, his attempts to side-step direct questions (under questioning that was very civil in tone, btw) -- I read fear well beyond anything to be expected in the normal workplace situation you describe.ReplyDelete
But you got the name right -- Wildstein -- which I think I kept typing wrong above.
Anyone unused to testifying in a hearing will choose his words carefully and be nervous. He doesn't want to get fired. Who would? The guy questioning him is trying to put words into his mouth -- that is very obvious. And I didn't read a transcript -- I watched the video.Delete
File it under general ignorance:ReplyDelete
"North toward home—driving up I-95: Interstate 95 runs north and south through the major cities of the eastern seaboard. Heading northbound through New Jersey and toward New York City, I-95 takes you over the GW Bridge, then heads on toward Providence and Boston.
Here’s what happens as you approach the bridge from the south at a busy time: "
I-95 runs largely North-South on a distance scale of Florida to Maine. But the NJ to NY crossing is a West to East one ( 80 E and I 95 North merge just before the GWB).
This is irrelevant of course - but gotcha! by the by the blogger's rules.
He goes on to talk about I-95 going up to CT and RI, so he is talking about a longer distance than just NJ to NY. Please read more carefully.Delete
But I 80 is as big if not a bigger source of Eastbound incoming traffic to the GWB and there is even some traffic from the north down the Palisades Parkway.Delete
Traffic ultimately headed to Ct and beyond from I95 South is only one fraction of the total. A big fraction of people crossing over in the morning busy hour would have originated on I80 and would go to Manhattan, Queens, or even Long Island - most of which is East/Southeast bound from the GWB.
And don't forget that there is another E-W crossing further up North - the Tappan Zee bridge for people headed to Westchester county and beyond.
That there is anything particularly North-South about the GWB traffic is just ignorance.
If you are trying to prove that Somerby doesn't live in NY, we will concede that point.Delete
Is Bob trolling us?ReplyDelete
Anyway, here is what Christie said in his speech:
"I don't know if this was a traffic study that morphed into a political vendetta or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study."
Isn't that the main point, that this was a political vendetta put together and implemented by Christie's top staffers?
2:33. When Christie says he wasn't friends with Wildstien in HS, we take him at his word. When Christie says this was a political vendetta, we ignore it and play games "Was this only a bungled study? We can't say... blah, blah, blah."Delete
Agree, TDH is trolling us.
Yes, by normal common understanding of the English language, this would seem to indicate that the "political vendetta" part is not in dispute.Delete
However, this is TDH, which operates under different rules.
Why do you think it is OK to disappear the "I don't know if..." part of Christie's sentence? He is not saying it is either. He is not admitting to any vendetta. He is saying he doesn't know what happened. He is pointing out that there are several possibilities and saying he doesn't know what is true. YOU want this to be a Christie vendetta of some kind and so that is all you hear. That is called bias.Delete
Who's disappearing it? It's right in front of your eyeballs.Delete
Why do you think it's OK to disappear the rest of it? The guy quoted the whole sentence. You're the only one picking and choosing the part that fits your script and throwing out the rest.
Christie is clearing saying it's one or the other, he doesn't know which one. But "poltical vendetta" is certainly there, either way.
"I don't know if this was a traffic study that morphed into a political vendetta or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study."
It is pretty plain, straightforward English.
4:48, he said he didn't know if it was either one or the other. He did not indicate any other possibilities. As 4:58 said, it's pretty straightforward English.Delete
If it was possibly just a bungled study, and not a vendetta, I'm guessing he would have said that. Or maybe Wildstein would have said that rather than pleading the 5th. In fact no one (except perhaps Bob and his minions) continues to opine that it might just be a bungled attempt at a study after all.
He's saying political vendetta because that is what he was accused of. No one was accusing him of conducting a legitimate study. But the key words are that he didn't know what was happening. The rest of the context of his statement supports that -- not a confession to conducting such a vendetta. Although many people have now said they consider Christie vindictive that way, he has not issued a mea culpa. This is twisting his intent by being highly selective about which words you emphasize. It isn't how people parse language. Just how partisans operate to confirm their own biases.Delete
5:49.... you got to be kidding me. Yes, he said he didn't know what his aids were up to - no kidding. Maybe he didn't.Delete
But where in his hour + long chat did he say or even hint at "it could have simply been a bungled attempt at a study." All he said is he didn't know if it was a political vendetta from a study or a study from a political vendetta.
So even Christie himself isn't claiming (anymore) that it was a bungled attempt at a study. But you won't give up since you must follow Bob's script. And those who don't are clearly "partisans." funny
What I am having the hardest time understanding is how such supposed bright people came up with such a plan which is plain dumb and stupid. They were punishing all commuters-democrats and republicans alike. They need to be punished to the fullest extent of law for terminal stupidity. But where was all this outrage when someone in the administration barricaded an open air memorial so a bunch of old heroes of the United States could not visit it all to punish Republicans?ReplyDelete
Let me ask my standard question, Anonymous @2:34P. Does it hurt you to be this ignorant?Delete
If the answer is no, then that's just too bad.
From your comment, I'm not sure whether you think that all the "old heroes of the United States" are Republicans or whether you think that the National Parks Service denied access to a group that is statistically likely to be heavily Republican on the theory that they would blame Republicans.
The memorial was closed because the government was shut down. The barricades told people that no one was on duty there. All your "old heroes" had to do was move the barriers aside. Which they did. (The First Amendment protects the right to visit the memorial, open or closed.)
Feeling a twinge or two? Am I a bad person for hoping that you are?
You failed to answer his question. I will.
The outrage was all over FOX News and the daily caucus of the Republican House members who shut down the government.
You're not a bad person Deadrat, but you are a perennial wanker.Delete
Anonymous @3:24P, That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me this year.Delete
"Did we say this “study” was done in good faith?ReplyDelete
Actually, no—we did not."
What the fuck does that mean precisely?
What is a study done in bad faith?
"What is a study done in bad faith?" in this case, a political vendetta. Even Christie said so.. but Bob is busy dissembling.Delete
Why is there an effort to insist that the degree of offense over an event affected by politics should not be mitigated by the legitimacy of a study?Delete
3:30, so you think if the vendetta grew out of a previously legit study it somehow mitigates the scandal? Interesting.... Is that what Bob's implying here? I honestly don't know.Delete
Oh, how clever! NOT!ReplyDelete
Bob has hung his criticism over coverage of this event on his imagining speculation from reporters going far beyond the known in a vile effort to bring down Christie -- and failing to produce the slightest bit of evidence of that.
So how does he open this post? "Is it possible . . ." You stay up all night thinking that one up.
How cute. Yes, Bob, almost anything is always possible. Almost anything. In this case, no "traffic study in good faith" is possible, which is why people are losing their jobs, and Christie stands before you, "angry, embarrassed and sad."
If you had a shred of the honest you demand of others, you'd weight this bogus excuse of a "study in good faith" with the blistering e-mail sent by Patrick Foye when he ordered the lanes re-opened IMMEDIATELY.
You have lost all credibility in your bizarre witch hunt against MSNBC. But for the love of God, if you can't stop blogging, at least stop blogging like this while you still might have a shred of dignity left.
Zimmerman was innocent, Rachel Maddow is a witch, Christ Christie was engaging in a serious traffic study, and Diane Ravitch is misleading people about education in exactly the same way as Bill Gates and Amanda Ripley. Makes you think that Maureen Dow cost Al Gore the election. (What did Al Gore do to annoy Maureen, maybe there is something to that after all?)ReplyDelete
Gore's bald spot was overheard saying something tacky about MoDo's accessories at a Sally Quinn brunch.
I used to pity Somerby like I would a guy in his 30s who still wears his high school letter jacket from 15 years ago because that was the high point of his life to which he could never return.Delete
Reading how increasingly rambling and disconnected on Zimmerman, I began to believe that he was becoming that which he said he hated -- a poor schnook, screaming for an audience, any audience, the truth be damned.
Reading his takes on the bridge case, from last month to now, my suspicions are confirmed.
Bob Somerby doesn't give a damn about the truth. And, sadly, he has put his deep concern for low-income children on hold until he can milk every hit he can out of Chris Christie and the Bridge.
Let's see: Zimmerman was not guilty per a Florida court. TDH had nothing to say about Zimmerman's culpability; he talked about the reporting of Martin's killing. The governor of New Jersey is not the second coming of Jesus; he goes by the nickname "Chris." without a final 't'. No one thinks Christie was involved in a PA traffic study, and not even Christie thinks there was one. Diane Ravitch is misleading people exactly the way that TDH describes. Maureen has nothing to do with the family of the chemical company. Her last name is Dowd, not Dow, and whether she helped cost Gore the election is a matter of opinion. Her columns for the NYT are certainly a waste of Op-Ed page inches.Delete
Other than that, heckuva job.
I used to pity Somerby like I would a guy in his 30s who still wears his high school letter jacket from 15 years ago because that was the high point of his life to which he could never return.Delete
You don't pity Bob because clearly the low point of Bob's life is well beyond your highest, which explains your dedicated trollery (which come to think of it is likely your high point).
3:35, Careful. Your hero hates people who speculate beyond the known facts.Delete
And since you have no idea who I am, you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.
Just like your hero.
If there was no study, why were people out there in several places observing traffic (counting cars) and communicating the info back to each other? Doesn't that act constitute a study?Delete
"Doesn't that act constitute a study?"Delete
No, not even in a Freshman engineering class. You think traffic engineers count cars by having people stand there? On the busiest bridge in the world?
Then why did they have observers placed out there to monitor traffic?Delete
"Then why did they have observers placed out there to monitor traffic?"Delete
Ask Wildstein. Oh, that's right, he's not talking.
Go to the Anonymous, Jan 11, 1:22 comment. The Friday data dump shows that there was an ongoing traffic study at the same location as the Fort Lee ratf**k.Delete
Don't feel bad, the blogger missed it too.
"....with the blistering e-mail sent by Patrick Foye when he ordered the lanes re-opened IMMEDIATELY.""ReplyDelete
And the immediate response from Wildstein and Samson to "retaliate"
"The New York side gave Fort Lee back all three lanes this morning," Wildstein wrote to Kelly that Friday, Sept. 13. "We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate."
Retaliate means take action to get revenge against someone who has harmed you. If Wildstein and Samson are retaliating in response to the email sent by Foye, it implies that Foye's immediate cancelling of their lane closure was the action harming them and the retaliation was a response to it. When someone interrupts your study by immediately canceling it, then the person doing the harm is the guy canceling the study, not Wildstein and Samson.Delete
So, how does this prove that Wildstein and Samson's original lane closure was retaliation? It doesn't. It shows that Wildstein and Samson took some sort of action in response to Foye's order terminating their lane closure (or study, by another interpretation).
Ask Wildstein what he meant by "retaliate."Delete
I read the docs, and I don't know.ReplyDelete
I also watched the press conference, though, and I think Governor Christie is lying. It isn't like it matters what I think, so spare me the outrage. I'm not on the grand jury!
He did two things that people who are lying do all the time in my work, and they are:
1. Excessive specificity: he was finishing his workout and he got a call, etc. and on and on. People who don't lie think liars are vague, but the reverse is true. They offer all kinds of useless information. They bury you in details.
2. Offering an elaborate defense based on lack of motive. Christie went to great lengths to latch onto a possible motive and then shoot it down. This happens all the time. "I wouldn't have taken that car because I HAD a car!" It's funny, because it's always really narrow, as if there's ONE possible motive and shooting THAT down proves something or other.
I also thought the "sad" thing was just weird. How many times did he say he was "sad". What an odd word! I know he was trying to avoid "mad" (I am not a bully) but "sad", over and over? What is he so sad about?
I just didn't find his story credible, and those three things really didn't help.
You had me until the end. What's he said about? His own crack Team of F-Ups, whether on a legitimate traffic mission or a political vendetta, cut his lanes to the White House from 3 to 1 overnight.
"Sad" was image building. The rest of your concerns don't amount to much because everything in them is also entirely consistent with the way a truthful prosecutor would approach the topic.Delete
"Sad" was his lame attempt to turn himself into a victim. I sorta expected him to cry, but there goes that carefully crafted "tough guy" image.Delete
I am sad because the excellent Chris Christie Workout Tapes may never make it to video due to this screw up.Delete
Let's hope Christie does not regain all that weight under the pressure of these MSNBC falsehoods the way poor George Zimmerman did. Then he might resort to dodging trumped
up firearm charges from estranged wives and pissed off girlfriends.
Don't get fat and have pissed off girlfriends. Switch from cable now.
Maybe "Sad" was an attempt to express empathy with the people who were hurt?Delete
Fat jokes now? This is beneath even the trolls.
And where was that empathy when he was ridiculing reporters who asked him questions not that long ago?Delete
Funny how empathetic a guy gets after he is caught.
The Port Authority engineers who carried out this "study" on the orders of Christie's political appointees seem to have realized it wasn't much of a study. In one email, traffic engineer Jose Rivera put scare quotes around "test" when describing the operation.ReplyDelete
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/george-washington-bridge-davos-study-2014-1#ixzz2q7d6GTqg
The blogger must feel someone is squeezing his head like a grape for him to resort to these bizarre speculations.
All he has to do is admit that he f**ked up - big -time - issue an apology to Maddow and try to move on.
Despite the tribe's efforts to suggest otherwise, it was fairly obvious Christie didn't know much about any of it, although it did appear politically motivated. What seemed unlikely was that there was some credibility to the "study" rationale. Thanks, Bob.ReplyDelete
Yes. Dittos. Bob's powerful, timely analysis may yet do for Christie what it failed to do for Gore. If not, we'll all be sure to read about it for the rest of Bob's natural life.
3:07 said "it was fairly obvious Christie didn't know much about any of it..."Delete
Why is that fairly obvious?
Clinton and Gore era Welfare "reform" experiment that ended up killing its subjects in Florida (death rate increased 30 percent).ReplyDelete
OMB (When Nobody Defends the ONE TURE BOB, Zark will)ReplyDelete
1) It is entirely plausible that a study of what would happen to unsnarl traffic on I-95 at the GWB might inlude slowing morning access from Ft. Lee.
2) It is entirely likely that if such a study were even being contemplated, under normal federal rules governing use of federal funds, such a study would have gone through the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization for that area.
3) It is highly likely that, given federal, state, and local rules, such a study would have alerted Ft. Lee officials and residents to the impending delays contemplated for them in the future and they would have raised bloody hell with everyone from the dogcatcher to the president, which includes the porcine occupant of the NJ governor's mansion (should I call it the Statehouse?)
4) It is possible that arrogant appointed officials in an administration of BullyBoys might try to cicrumvent rules for such a study by using their power to order a field test unannounced. And they might have sent snarky e-mail's while doing so never thinking what those e-mails would look like when retrospectively revealed.
5) Once unshirted hell broke out and investigations began, it is possible the AAO's of the BB administration might have tried to cover up their arrogant acts, forgetting what they texted and typed.
6) If steps 1-5 are not only possible, but true, then for them to not have fessed up to this in December is stupider than engaging in steps 1-5 to begin with. They may have cost their fat friend and benefactor the White House.
7) If steps 1-6 are true, how stupid is Chris Christie?
OMB (ONE TRUE BOB rules invoked)Delete
If none of the tribal followers BOB, or you liberal media elites troll apologists disagree by 4:07, you agree with me.
I thought I might come to a better understanding of what appears to have happened in New Jersey by reading the blog and comments, what I find is that the writing is beyond understand because of the ceaseless sarcasm. This is all or almost all absurd, and what may make sense is hidden by the sarcasm and meanness.ReplyDelete
Oh well, there are other sites.
You referring to the blogger, the commenters, or both?
If you are offended by the commenters, don't activate the commentariat.
If it's the blogger or both, rest assured that neither will miss you as you finally locate a blog that is not mean or sarcastic.
I'm sure there is a site or two that won't require the constant use of a fainting couch as you read and understand the given blog and comments.
May we suggest Uncle Drum's blog. BOB recommends it.
He read not only the blog, but each and every comment, which he counts. He even pens comments there of his own, using his own name.
I suggest you try Uncle Drum's blog. BOB highly recommends it. He reads and counts every comment there.
He even pens some himself using his own name.
Wow. My first draft got caught in the Space Time Continuum...then escaped only to get across the GWBridge in second place.Delete
I wish The Daily Howler had kept digging himself a deeper hole when he turned out to be wrong about Mel Gibson.ReplyDelete
Yes, it is written that this blogger, alone among human beings, must at all times be right about everyone and everything, especially when stating a matter of opinion.Delete
Are you kidding me? In 2004, Mel Gibson faces some criticism from folks who think that The Passion of the Christ is antisemitic. TDH quotes an email, striking in its similarity in tone and accusation, to the irate part of today's commentariat, accusing the blogger of missing the film's antisemitism. TDH says he has no idea whether Gibson is anitsemitic or not, and quotes Abe Foxman of the ADL saying Gibson is not.Delete
In 2006, Gibson is arrested for drunk driving, and being drunk, decides it's a good idea to tell the cop that Jews are responsible for all wars. This is leaked four years later to TMZ.
So what's your point? That two years before Gibson's antisemitic tirade and six years before anyone knew about it, TDH should have made up his mind about Gibson's antisemitism?
What kind of a hole is Abe Foxman in? And no puns about non-atheists and foxholes.
"Yes, it is written that this blogger, alone among human beings, must at all times be right about everyone and everything, especially when stating a matter of opinion."Delete
Substitute, oh, say, "Rachel Maddow" for "this blogger" and you have a post written by "this blogger."
A note to the fiery, the eager, the partisan: YHBT. YHL. HAND.ReplyDelete
This was interesting because it is written by traffic trade magazine earlier about this business. They give basic background on how things usually work and the things involved:ReplyDelete
GREAT LINK, Pinko PunkoDelete
OMB (BOB Prove Right Once Again)
It was a study. Perhaps "experiment" might be a better phrase since they used Ft. Lee commuters and townsfolk as guineau pigs.
But the key point is that, contrary to what the gobbling Governor said this week, he may well have been apprised in advance of that sad moment after his workout:
"Little note has been taken of how Baroni said at one point in legislative hearings that Fort Lee traffic represented only 5% of the traffic at the middle toll plaza, but had 25% (3 of 12 lanes) of toll capacity, and the trial was to see if this was "fair." He may have made the same point to the governor in conversation because Christie himself remarked at one press conference, “The fact that one town has three lanes dedicated to it? That kind of gets me sauced.”
Saucing the old gubernatorial goose may be in order.
OMB (Sad (just like the Guv) to Update)Delete
It would seem the reporter left out key context from his quote of Governor Christie. At his December 2, 201r press conference, the Governro at first expressed he didn't even know Ft. Lee had three lanes of access. Then he made his "gets me sauced comment and suggested he would look into taking the lanes away from Ft. Lee again! But he is not a bully.
TDH makes a simple point, one consistent with most of his blogging career: Beware of script!ReplyDelete
Script isn't always wrong, but it's always script. And when NJ Democrats offer you a few pages of script, treat them skeptically, as you should any script.
As if to prove the addictive nature of script, the commentariat goes nuts. TDH is demented! He's not blogging and has become a performance artist! TDH hates liberals. TDH has few readers (?), he was "rambling an disconnected" on Zimmerman, he's an object of pity.
Now lest I be accused of hating liberals or being the dupe of conservatives, let me state that I hope the NJ General Assembly impeaches Christie, I hope the NJ Senate convicts him, I hope the AGs of New York, New Jersey, and the United States indict him for corruption, I hope that he's tried, convicted, and serves time alongside every corrupt toady in his administration and on his staff.
Does that make me a bad person or just a perennial wanker?
deadrat, I agree that TDH has always been good at pointing out scripts. \That's why I love him. But I believe he's fallen into the trap now, with his own script - Maddow is a scandal mongering something or other.Delete
I don't watch Maddow, but the stuff Bob was complaining about seemed rather minor or at often like good reporting by her. While Bob called the story bullshit, which IS bullshit as even back in December the whole thing already stunk.
The question on the lane closures could have been quickly addressed by someone explaining why proper PA procedures were not followed, why no one called back the mayor, etc.
Instead we got two rapid resignations by the very people in charge of the study. You do not have to be Woodward to know that smells funny (but not like a bullshit story).
Seems to me Bob never considered that this story really had meat, he was more interested in playing up his Maddow is playing us for rubes card.
From what I can gather, Maddow as doling out information reported in the WSJ and Bergen Record. I think kudos should go out to the latter two for keeping on this story, that's what reporting is about.
I feel like this latest TDH posting is almost a test of his long time readers to see if we'll refute a TDH script. "Could it be a bungled attempt at a study" wha????
Anyway, Brits are wankers, we yanks are jerk offs.. don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
If anything you'd be a Democratic dupe, dedrat.Delete
You guys liked him more than we ever did.
handset, omnia scripta in duos partes divisa est. The first is TDH"s opinion on the story itself, namely that the whole thing was bullshit, and however much Fort Lee commuters were inconvenienced, the bigger disgrace was lavishing $12M on a special election to pump up Christie's already inflated ego. In this, I think he was wrong.Delete
The second part is how people like Maddow handled the story. There was no there there visible when she started reporting, and she's not redeemed by the fact that a real scandal seems to have eventually hoved into view. Even a stopped clock finds an acorn twice a day. Or something. Case in point, her breathless speculation that maybe it wasn't the mayor of Fort Lee who was targeted but the majority leader of the New Jersey Senate, whose district includes Fort Lee.
For some reason, TDH's notorious absence from his own blog's commentary drives some commenters nuts. But there's no meta involved. I doubt this is a test for the blog's readers; it's just a restatement of TDH's thesis -- beware script, especially that which pleases you. There's no evidence that TDH cares about his commenters, and if you read the latest batch of entries, that seems to be a good policy.
As for the Brits/wankers, Yanks/jerkers, thanks. That's the second nicest thing anyone has said to me this year.
deadrat, sounds like you're not having a good year!Delete
Of course we should "beware script" - even Mr Somerby. And with this story, he seems to be following his own more than Maddow is promoting hers.
I don't know if he reads these comments, probably not. But perhaps he should, he likes to keep pundits honest, who is keeping him honest? .
quis custodiet ipsos custodes (that's about the limit of my latin)
Hankest, Quis? There's nobody. We have to do this for ourselves.Delete
There was no "script" that Maddow was pushing. TDH's early attacks on Maddow consisted of criticism because this was obviously a nothing burger of a story and she was wasting precious air time talking about it. Plus she seemed just a bit too excited and enthusiastic.
There was "no there there" when she started reporting this story? Well, I think the NYTimes, The Wall Street Journal and numerous New Jersey newspapers might take issue with that assertion.
And what precisely is your problem with her "breathless" speculation of the true motive? She hosts a talk and opinion show you know. I thought it was an interesting bit of insight into what was going on around the time this happened. We don't know and she never claimed she knew if that was in fact the motive behind this bizarre and inexplicable actions by Christie's people.
mm, I've re-read the Maddow/nightmare entry. The script here is one TDH complains about all the time -- there's a scandal and you know how we loves us some scandal.Delete
I'm not suggesting that reporters stop digging when public officials tell them to move along because there's nothing to see. But until they hit pay dirt, there may be nothing to report. I, too found the story about Christie's tangling with Senate Democrats interesting, but tying the spat to Bridgegate seems absurd. If Maddow doesn't know and never claimed to know if she had a new motive, then she shouldn't have implied otherwise.
You're twisting the meaning of script.Delete
There was no script that Maddow was repeating. How could there be a "script" when she was the only national reporter even talking about it. I actually am not persuaded that her speculation of motive answers the questions that still remain.
The "script" would the thing that fires tribal imaginations and/or ramps up the matter beyond what is known.Delete
There is a fine line between flogging a script and the sort of natural speculation that happens during discussion.
I think the parameters of good journalism should be that when such speculation is aired, guests are invited on to counter it.
Also, that the promoting of the story in general, not exceed new developments and information.
To guage the parameters *chiefly upon the story's potential to be big, puts too much control i(incentive for hyperbole, scripts) in the hands of the media, which naturally benefits from big news stories.
I count over 35 sock-puppet comments from Bob this 1 blog post. Is that some kind of record?ReplyDelete
Is it, on balance, useful to readers to get such feedback? Or is it so deceptive (and sometimes abusive) that it is, on balance, negative?
Trollmes, Sit down. I've got some bad news for you.Delete
I know you think you're on a first-name basis with "Bob," and I know you think he's sending you feedback via anonymous comments, but there's no evidence for this.
Chances are he just doesn't give a shit. Live with it.
Were BOB critiquing your exchange with Trollmes he would note you could not be # 36 because Trollmes already counted over 35.
And Sr. raton muerte to answr your question from eralier in the evening, perhaps you are neither a bad person or a perrennial wanker. You could just be a periwinkle or a person who wanks badly seasonally. We don't know. Everything is possible.
KZ, There's only room for one perennial wanker on this blog, and I have it on good authority it's me. So if anything is possible, could you possibly go away?Delete
It's possible. We just don't know.Delete
OMB (In Praise of Pinko Punko and in Defense of ONE TRUE BOB)ReplyDelete
Pinko Punko at 5:40 has an important link which reinforces BOB's theory (which we heartily endoresewd in our earlier comment, which by BOB rules you all agree with because, like liberalpundits when Al Gore was savaged, you were silent).
BOB suggested this could really have been a badlu bungled attempt at a study. We agreed. We went further and suggested if it was, Christie is even a bigger fool because the outcome was much worse
than it would have been had the bunglers simply owned up to bungling.
Pinko Punkos link to a toll road publication proves us right, and indicts Christie further in a point made in public but overlooked by the perspiring Maddow and the reinvented Hayes.
"Little note has been taken of how Baroni said at one point in legislative hearings that Fort Lee traffic represented only 5% of the traffic at the middle toll plaza, but had 25% (3 of 12 lanes) of toll capacity, and the trial was to see if this was "fair." He may have made the same point to the governor in conversation because Christie himself remarked at one press conference, “The fact that one town has three lanes dedicated to it? That kind of gets me sauced.”
So Christ knew all along.
Well of course Christ knew. As part of the Trinity he knows and sees all. But so did Christie, which was my error.Delete
OMB (Sad Update)Delete
I had too look further into the juicy "sauced " quote. It was, in fact mentioned on Maddow's blog. It was also offered out of context by the toll road reporter. It seems before Christie made that comment on Dec. 2nd at the news conference announcing Baroni's resignation, he professed iognorance that Ft. Lee had three access lanes. Then he suggested he might look into taking away some of the lanes again. But he is not a bully.
I do commend Pinko for the link, as well as your efforts, Oh Alien One, to prod the readers of this blog to put eyeballs on it.Delete
Very interesting to me is how the two top officials with actual expertise both in that bridge and in traffic flow, Fulton and Durando, tried to tell the two Christie appointees who lacked such expertise, Baroni and Wildstein, that their proposed "study" was not going to go well, to put it kindly.
And that Fulton and Durando were specifically ordered not to tell anyone about it, not the local officials or the motoring public who would be impacted, not even Foye, the Port Authority executive director.
Of course, Bob is entirely correct. It is still "possible" that this was a legitimate study done in good faith to answer the important question: Does Fort Lee really need all those toll booths?
It is also "possible" that you are the mere vanguard of a massive invading force that will soon suck us dry of all our precious, human bodily fluids.
As Deep Throat and my 7th grade social studies teacher once said, "follow the money".Delete
It's looking more and more like this is about the billion dollar development project in Fort Lee that the Mayor is pushing.
Such Maddow like speculation on your part. Of course that kind of thinking pervaded us as well a few threads back when we suggested Wildthing's hiring at the PA in a Capital Projects post never before filled by any sentient human might have had something to do with money of the shakendown variety.
We still, however, maintain that the BOB "Everything's Possible" version still makes Christie and Co. complete idiots. Better than bullying crooks we suppose. We don't know.
Of course that does not excuse all your leading liberal elite journalists and talking heads for their error plagued coverage of this trivial incident that has taken time from more important topics.
I think you're aware King. Zzzzzz, that default mode for the blogger is that the conservative media has always been a bunch of carnival barkers. To the point that he finds the occasional mildly nonpartisan behavior to be remarkable.Delete
You know his concern is that liberals don't morph into such rubes.
So when you point out that he focuses on liberals...duh...
Yes, both awake and sawing logs we recognize the default mode of BOB, blogger of bloggers. We believe it could the stated thusly: pettiness, tribalism, and occaisional bouts of hypocritical stupidity are bad human traits which should be above liberals because of their ideology. Those who display such traits and are conservative cannot be blamed because it is caused by their ideology. Therefore, when conservatives act otherwise we should praise their rare
performance. They are a credit to their ideology. When liberals display any of the traits caused by conservativism we must pounce on them for not acting like liberals should. They are a disgrace to their ideology.
When we first came to your planet we spent time in the segregated southern regions, Such BOBlike judgements were common. They were just not applied with ideology as the criteria for how to prejudge people.
Anon @ 8:32Delete
Pardon my distraction by others from not thanking you.
Let me assure you, however, that we rely on renewable fluids which are local ans sustainable. We are here for the white women.
OMB ( Previews of Coming Attractions)ReplyDelete
"Coming: Christie regains his high school chum. Also, Maddow’s new ballyhooed theory"
A Maddowesque tease if ever there was one. Watch this space!
It will have your perspiring all over your self pleasuring selves.
Meanwhile as Bob chews on this "nothing" bone, must we wait for another female with an elite school pedigree to pen another tome about public education before he returns to the all-imporant topic of low-income kids and how they fare against kids in Poland and Finland?Delete
KZ does not believe gnawing on anything related to ChristieDelete
will allow a human to reach bone. And as you know, KZ is delighted when the topic returns to those miraculous Poles.
We have profited mightily by betting on their test performances. They are better than the Miracle Mets.
Cue the fat lady for the bloggerReplyDelete
The closings continued for three more days, ending only when the executive director, Patrick Foye, belatedly stepped in.
“I pray that no life has been lost,” Foye said in an email.
Foye also wrote, “I believe this hasty and ill-advised decision violates federal law and the laws of both states.”
(1) It looks like there WAS a 'study' of some sort.
(2) Isn't "bungled" just a tad understated for what might have been a violation of state and federal laws?
Lets watch the blogger froth at the mouth as he furiously tilts at one irrelevant windmill after another.
When will he quit? When Christie resigns and/or is indicted? Knowing the blogger, he'd continue to claim he was right all along because the interests of black kids were ill-served in the whole mess.
"When will he quit?"Delete
Alternative answer: When he stops getting hits and his blog traffic returns to its normal levels.
Oh, excuse me. I should have said "Alterntive possibility".Delete
What is so hard to fathom about "Time for some traffic problems", Bob?ReplyDelete
Ah, but "it's possible" that Bridget Kelly really, truly meant that it was "Time for a legitimate, good faith study to improve traffic flow on the GWB."Delete
Words no longer have meaning. In the World According to Bob, we must always explore all "possibilities" and dismiss none of them as utterly preposterous.
It could be too that sticking it to political opponents was, in her mind, just a lucky confluence of the circumstances of the traffic study.Delete
The voicing of such an ugly sentiment via an email is reason enough to boot all of them, to my thinking, no matter if the study was done with the best of motives (and that's not an argument that it was).
While some in the may be taking some license with the narrative, it's hard to see, based on everything that I can determine about this, that Christie has a logical explanation for what happened. It seems obvious that if you cut access lanes from three to one, that this would slow traffic. One does not need a study to see this in my opinion. If this was an actual study, then it would seem to be in Christie's interest to produce it, since it could exonerate him of the responsibility for what happened. However, there is a lot of evidence before this incident, that Christie is a petty bully. This does not seem to be an issue that fits our usual narrative about the media at this point.ReplyDelete